Stop Bullying

Stop and Read: Stop Humiliating, Stop and Care, 

Stop and Say Something, Stop and Smile.

Bullying is a type of violent and intimidatory behavior that is exercised between children and teenagers primarily during the school years.

Bullying happens most of the time when there are no adults present so it is important for parents and teachers to understand what it means,  the signs of both the victim and the aggressor and how to treat it or prevent it.

In honor of Bullying Prevention Month in October, we will be introducing a series of Anti Bullying Tips for the whole family and everyone involved.

First Step is to consider the different types of bullying:

  • Verbal: insults, excessive jokes and humiliation
  • Physical:  hitting and touching
  • Social Bullying: Alienation from social group
  • CyberBullying: Attacking via social media, email or even online publishing

As adults we need to recognize these are serious assaults that can lead to terrible consequences on our children. We must learn how to prevent bullying and treat the victim with more than just “ they are only kids” or “if you get hit, hit back”

Bullying can begin from very young children but there are studies showing that it intensifies as the children grow and although there are many people who are involved, the two main roles are the victim and the aggressor:

            When Children are younger there is a higher chance they will talk about anything bad that happens with their peers; however there are many reasons they will stay quite including: being embarrassed of the event, fear of speaking out loud and that it could happen again. Adults must raise concern about children possibly being bullied when noticing any of these signs:

  • Changes in performance either from school grades or after school activities
  • Less motivated to attend classes or after school activities
  • Unexplained or unusual bruises
  • Lack of Appetite
  • Isolation
  • Sleeping Problems
  • Stressed out or becoming more aggressive
 

ATTENTION: If you notice any of these red flags and your child is not speaking much, first try to talk to them without harassing and second seek help from the school and professionals. The most fundamental thing to remember is to provide family support and content in order to achieve a safe space for your child to express themselves and find the best solution.

It is essential to think about methods to treat the Past, Present and Future of a Victim:

  • Teach kids about what bullying means and how to avoid it
  • Create a plan and look for adequate professionals to help if a kid is being bullied
  • Warn children that there could be future attacks and practice the strategies developed to stay safe

A typical characteristic of aggressors is using other’s vulnerabilities to make them feel better about themselves and being ill tempered. Usually, they also come from dysfunctional families, little communication or broken relationships with their parents and have personality issues. As a society, it has become a taboo subject to even think our own child could be a bully and we tend to bypass any problems we might notice with unjustified excuses. It is just as important to treat a bullied victim as it is to treat kids who are acting as bullies . An aggressor could have long lasting effects of regret and hostility all leading to worse problems such as addictions and future relationship problems.

ATTENTION:  It would be beneficial for the whole family to seek professional help when children are acting violently towards others. Put together a plan in place to prevent bullying and treat it the right way:

  • Talk to children about bullying and respect for others, make them elaborate on what they have done and how they should control their behaviors 
  • Find an appropriate punishment for children who have become bullies and professional help
  • Advise children that punishments could become worse if bullying continues

In both these cases of children being the victim or the attacker, PARENTS are the foremost role in preventing bullying. The next step is providing the best examples  for parents to work on building self esteem for children and how to show respect for others from a young age.

Since children look up to adults every day we must set up the example of how to treat others so that our children copy our behavior. The first person we must treat with respect and compassion is our child, we must talk to them daily and help them understand what bullying is and that is unacceptable. Most importantly, we need to educate ourselves as parents so that we can raise our children to become worthy human beings with strong personalities and confidence.

We can start learning about their daily routines and type of personality by reinforcing and strengthening their characteristics and personality.  

 

Tips to work on our children’s personality:

 

  • Talk daily with our children and ask them appropriate questions (see below)

         – Learn their friends’ names and talk about them

  • Encourage our kids to join activities that they enjoy in order to help them boost their confidence
  • Provide them with self defense techniques and strategies to prevent bullying

        –  Self defense classes (e.g. Jiu Jitsu, karate, etc…)

        –  Using humor to redirect the conversation

        –  Directly Saying Stop and walking away

        –  Tell them to be accompanied by friends during school breaks 

  • Seek professional help and advice from the school when necessary

Tips on questions we can ask daily:

  1.     What was your favorite part of today? What was your least favorite part? 
  2.     Who did you sit with today at lunch? What did you talk about? 
  3.     What is your favorite class and why? What about your least favorite and why?
  4.     In your opinion, what is “bullying”? What do you think about people who bully?
  5.     What do you normally do when you see someone being bullied? How does it make you feel? What would you do if it happens again?
  6.     Have you ever felt scared about going to school because you were afraid of being bullied? 

As mentioned repeatedly, behavior imitation begins at home and we must build a safe and harmonious environment. Often, bullying originates at the house even unconsciously. Some parents might not realize that they are being aggressive or that they even making comparisons between siblings, creating a rivalry and leading towards greater problems. This type of bullying could result in negative consequences as much as peer bullying. It could lead to identity issues, low self esteem and lack of self motivation. Parents must take into consideration all these factors and seek professional help if necessary to achieve a peace and security at home. 

In the case in which we need to punish our children for bullying and aggressive behaviors we must remember we are their example. We need to maintain calm without yelling in order to define the limits, create authority and respect. We need to guide them about the negative consequences of bullying while emphasizing family and social values. We need to implement punishments that affect the children, not the parent. As the kid becomes older, the punishments should become stricter and longer because they are more capable of understanding their conduct. 

 

Tips for Age-Appropriate Punishments: 

 

  • Kindergarten Children:

        –  Instead of saying no TV tonight, you could try saying I choose what you watch for just a   few minutes       

        – No dessert 

        – Not attending a specific activity or party

  • Elementary School Children:

        – No TV

        – No games on the phone or tablet

        – Not attending a specific activity or party

  • Middle School Children:

       –  Earlier bedtimes

       – No phone or computer 

       – Punished for the weekend without going out to social activities

  • High School Teenagers:

       – If the teenager drives, no car for a weekend

       – If the teenager goes to work, parents could find a way to drive them

       – Stronger restrictions on cell phones

       – No social activities for a week

 

Once we make sure as parents that children understand what they did and how their behavior is hurting others, we must find a way for them to apologize to the victims; saying a meaningful “I am sorry” could help others feel better and prevent future bullying. 

Nowadays the subject of bullying has gotten more attention and schools are carrying out more 

regulations to handle it. We need to learn what policies are in place for bullying and how teachers and administrators are taking care of them. From a teacher’s perspective, they are listening to the comments said in class and depending on the degree of the observations they revise the bullying policies and consequences. Parent contact should always be made to both the aggressor and the victim. Kids are mutually being mean to each other but parents are very quick to blame the other child even though their child is equally as mean. This won’t lead to any resolution and as parents we need to handle it as best as possible.

 

Tips on how to handle bullying with school administrators and teachers:

 

  • Handle the situation with respect and an open mind
  • Reassure teachers are handling the issue privately
  • Discuss how both sides reacted and consequences to each one
  • Determine a follow up plan for both sides including school counseling for the victim and the bully
  • Closely monitor students to prevent future confrontations

When children are not directly involved in the bullying act but they still witness someone else being bullied, we should encourage children to speak to trusted adults. Reporting bullying is important!  

 

Tips for supporting witnesses of bullying

 

  • Tell them to speak privately to a responsible adult about what they witnessed
  • Talk to them about what they saw and how they felt about it
  • Explain to them about the consequences for all children involved 
  • Point out to them that they shouldn’t feel intimidated by any of the children for what happened and they can still be friends with them 
  • Emphasize the importance of respect for others and we should always treat others the same way we would like to be treated

 

Our responsibilities as parents are to protect and guide our children through a safe and positive path but some things are out of our hands. In cases where we can’t handle ourselves, seeking professional help will only make us stronger and allow us to see things clearly. A counselor or therapist will treat the following concerns: 

 

  • Reinforcing self esteem and personality
  • Talking about fears
  • Relationships with others 
  • School and extracurricular activities
  • Discipline
  • Leadership 
  • Emotions and silences
  • Consequences

Don’t ignore the fact that children may be involved in bullying and don’t think they could work it out by themselves without adult help. Learn all the facts first, reach out to both children and parents involved and focus on these points:

 

  • Emphasize on teaching kids to have empathy towards other people’s feelings and get them to share as much as possible with any responsible adult they feel comfortable with.
  • Get help from professionals and organizations 
  • Provide support for our children and be sympathetic of the feelings they are experiencing

Stop Bullying  - Stop and Care
Prevent Depression and Suicide on Children 
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline  (1-800-273-8255)
stopbullying.gov
  


Claudia Jaichenco, Social Group Coordinator / Grandmother
Patrizia Visconti, Physician Assistant /New mother
Vanessa Lucero, Special Education Teacher
Mariana Volinsky, Marketing Specialist / Mother of two

Comments

mood_bad
  • No comments yet.
  • chat
    Add a comment